Did you know that webpages with video are 50 times more likely than plain text pages to get top page ranks in Google? Or that search results with a video have a 41% higher clickthrough rate? And consider that over 60% of universal Google searches contain video. But in order for any of that to matter, audiences need to be able to find your video, which means you need to optimize your video for search engines.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a phrase with which most of us have had some experience. Since the advent of large search engines (namely Google) through the proliferation of the internet, consumers have increasingly turned to search engines for information about products, services, events, popular culture, and, well, everything! As these digital warehouses of information have grown, the goal to stand out has become a real challenge. And that’s how SEO was born; the fight to get your website to the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
So you’ve made an awesome video that engages your audience and clearly communicates the unique offering of your product or service. Now what? The first step would be to get that video on the internet and optimize it to get the most views possible, which means getting the highest SERP rank possible. Let’s begin with YouTube.
When you think of a search engine, you probably think of Google. And you should! Google is the most-used search engine in the world. The second most-used search engine? YouTube. That should tell you something about the power of video in today’s market. How would like to have a billion dollar company host your video for you for FREE? Enter YouTube.
But that’s only the beginning. To get the most effectiveness from YouTube, you need to optimize your video for Google’s and YouTube’s search engines. Consider the following:
The first step to Video SEO is always Keyword research. You want to position your video to be easily accessible by your target audience, so you’d better know what terms those people are searching!
Your video title is the first thing YouTube’s search engine spiders crawl to determine the content of your video. As such, you need to keep it short and relevant, with your most important keywords as close to the front as possible.
- Video Descriptions
Make sure that your description is relevant to the CONTENT of the video, and not just a sales pitch about your business; Google’s web spiders rank content relevance very highly.
As with your descriptions, your tags should target the same keywords you used in your Title. Start with your highest priority keywords upfront and move down the list from there to industry jargon and brand terminology.
Ostensibly used for closed-captioning, YouTube allows you to upload a transcript of your video. This gives those spiders one more text field to crawl for keywords and content.
The idea behind video SEO is to get your video seen by as many people in your target audience as possible, right? Well, those people are everywhere. The lesson here? Cross-pollinate. Promote your video in as many locations as you can; it can only help to increase your brand exposure. Referrals from social sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others contribute to higher SERP rankings in Google and YouTube, so the more clicks and shares you get on those social sites, the better!
While YouTube is a great way to get your video out there and in front of a lot of eyes, the ultimate goal of your video is to generate interest in your business or product and drive your audience to your landing page. But why stop there? Why not bring your audience to your page to view your video? This is called “embedding” your video within one (or more) of the pages on your site, and it will keep your audience on your page to view your content, and increase the likelihood that your users will check out other content on your site.
Having a variety of content on your webpages (text, image, and video) will help your page rankings on their own, but Google actually has a hard time crawling a webpage and “seeing” an embedded video. If their spiders do find the video, they still can’t tell what content that video holds. So you need to help Google’s spiders find and crawl your embedded videos using two methods:
- XML Sitemaps
The simple explanation here is that a sitemap is, quite literally, a “map” of the content on your website – pages, links, and content. It tells Google how to navigate your site and what you’ve got to show. This information is invaluable for Google’s spiders to find and catalog your content, increasing the chances that Google algorithms will rank your content (and, therefor your site) highly.
- Structured Data Markup
Another way for you to assist Google’s spiders in locating and identifying video content specifically is with Structured Data Markup. Basically, this is a set of HTML language that Google recognizes that provides information about your video content which Google’s spiders would not otherwise be able to identify. If done correctly, this will result in rich snippets for your webpages in Google SERPs:
But what good is all that effort if you don’t know what it’s netting you in return? This is where analytics shine; after all, you want to connect your marketing efforts with ROI! I would go as far as to say that if you aren’t using analytics to track results, you’re wasting your time!
First, you can access YouTube’s analytics page from within your account’s dashboard under the – you guessed it – “Analytics” tab. There is a lot of information you can access with YouTube Analytics about the performance of your channel: which videos do your users like the most? how long do they watch your videos? where are your viewers coming from? All of this information is invaluable to your marketing and sales teams, and you should be taking full advantage of it.
Secondly, Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool that measures traffic to your website. I suggest that you spend some time getting familiar with this tool, as there is a LOT of information and it can be a bit overwhelming. For example, you can track traffic for specific pages, the amount of time on average a user stays on any given page, and even see a flow-chart of how your visitors navigate your website from page to page. Again, this is providing you a wealth of information about your target audience – use it!
You can have the greatest product marketing or company profile video the world has ever seen, but it won’t matter a bit if no one ever sees it. But if you follow the advice in this Video SEO guide, your video will be well-positioned to attract your audience and garner more views. That should equate to more traffic to your webpages, better consumer engagement, and more high-quality leads that your sales team can convert.
No matter your business, you have an engaging story to tell. Make sure your target audience can find you to hear your story.